Hot Fudge to Rival any Ice Cream Shop

We found this recipe in “The Joy of Cooking,” 1975 edition. My dad gave it to me when I moved into my first apartment in college, and it was one of my only cookbooks for a long time. We discovered the hot fudge sauce recipe right after we got married, when cooking was cheap entertainment. It has been, hands down, our favorite chocolate sauce. I wish I could say we never buy chocolate sauce but that would be a lie. But we do make it a couple of times a year, at least. It makes a great topping for ice cream, of course, but it is also a killer sauce on sponge cake, brownies, pretzels, fingers… Try drizzling it on top of a chocolate cake baked in a bundt pan and you will impress your guests all the way to Sunday.

A double boiler makes this recipe easier, but you could certainly use a microwave and a regular saucepan. In fact, I will have to try it that way next time. The sauce is ridiculously easy to make, and so worth the fifteen minutes it takes. According to the recipe, if you cook it just a bit longer, it becomes like Magic Shell (remember those commercials from the 80s?) and gets hard on top of ice cream. I usually try to cook it the shorter amount of time, and sometimes it stays liquid on ice cream, and sometimes gets a little like taffy. I have never cooked it long enough for it to get hard on the ice cream –maybe next time.

Just a word to the wise – the sauce can get a little grainy after refrigeration. We (Rich especially) happen to like the crunch from the sugar, but if you don’t, you might want to find a different recipe. Or just make sure you eat all the sauce soon after you make it, before the sugar has time to recrystallize.

Note: I doubled the recipe when I made it this time, so the pictures show doubled quantities. It does double beautifully.

Hot Fudge Sauce
adapted by The Cook’s Life from “Joy of Cooking”
by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker
Makes 1 cup, easy to double

The original recipe called for a cup of sugar, but we like it a little less sweet. I also cut down the cooking times a bit to make the sauce a little less likely to get taffy-like on top of ice cream. I use a double boiler to make this, mainly because the original recipe is written this way, but you can use the microwave to melt the chocolate and butter and then use a pan over direct heat for the rest. Or you can melt the chocolate and butter over direct heat, as long as you use low heat and watch it carefully so you don’t burn the chocolate. Proceed with the rest of the recipe as written.

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I used Baker’s)
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup boiling water
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler over boiling water until melted, stirring until smooth.

Remove the top of the double boiler from the bottom and place it directly on the burner, set to medium high heat. Add 1/3 cup boiling water (you can use some of the water from the bottom of the double boiler) and stir until smooth. Add sugar and corn syrup and stir again.

Cover the pot and bring to a boil without stirring. Once sauce comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium and continue to boil for 2 minutes, still covered. This will allow the steam to wash down any stray sugar crystals from the sides of the pan.

After 2 minutes, uncover and lower the heat to medium low. Continue to boil, without stirring for another minute. *

Remove from heat, pour into a heatproof bowl or container and add vanilla. Let cool to just warm before serving over ice cream or cake. Sauce will thicken considerably as it cools.

Store sauce in the fridge in a covered container. Rewarm in the microwave for a few minutes before serving. Sauce keeps for at least a week in the fridge, if it lasts that long.

*The original recipe gives directions for making a sauce that will harden on top of ice cream. I have never done this, but if you want to try it – at this point, continue boiling sauce for another 3 minutes. Continue with recipe from there. The original notes with the recipe say that you have to serve the sauce hot for it to harden on ice cream.

Download the recipe here.